Concerts & Venue: Etiquette

What should I wear? Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. However, keep in mind that the performers worked very hard to bring you such a beautiful evening of music, so why not use this occasion to glam it up and step out in something a bit fancier than everyday clothing?

When can I clap? It is customary to clap when the concertmaster enters, when the conductor enters, when a soloist enters, and after each piece. Most pieces consist of three to four smaller parts called movements. Some say it is not proper to clap between movements, but our conductor, Elizabeth Schulze, encourages it, so clap away if the spirit moves you.

Why does the conductor shake the hand of the violinist before the concert begins? The conductor is acknowledging the concertmaster, who is the leader of the violins and a vital part of the orchestra leadership. Our concertmaster is Louise Scott.

Why do parts of the orchestra leave sometimes? Some pieces aren’t written for the entire orchestra, so those musicians who aren’t needed leave to take a break and prepare for their next piece.

When can I come and go? To show respect to the orchestra, come and go only in between pieces, not movements. Enter and exit as quietly as possible. Hint: Wait for the clapping.

What is a movement? How do I know when the piece is over? Movements are the parts of a piece, which is the whole. Between movements, there is silence as the orchestra prepares for the next movement. The number of movements in a piece varies; movements are listed in the program along with information about the composer and the soloists.

What is the role of the conductor? The conductor is the visual focal point for the entire orchestra. She must be intimately involved with the music and hear the whole sound. The conductor cues musicians and adjusts the tempo and dynamics to make the piece sound as brilliant as possible.

May I bring my cell phone to a concert? You may bring your cell phone, but be sure to turn it off before the performance. This goes for pagers, electronic watches and any other noisemaking devices. Texting is also prohibited, as it is considered distracting and disruptive to those around you.

May I bring the kids? Children are welcome, we love having the opportunity to expose children to classical music. Out of respect for the orchestra and others around you, please take children out of the auditorium if they are disruptive.

How long is a typical performance? A typical performance usually lasts around two hours and includes a brief intermission. You’ll know intermission is over when you hear an announcement alerting you to return to your seat.

May I take pictures? No photography or video is permitted inside the auditorium.

How can I learn about the music before the concert? Visit our concert page or arrive early and read the program.